It's always nice when clients provide a bit of history to give me an idea of how to compose the drawing. According to the owner, "They are gray tabby brothers from the same litter. They are absolutely inseparable, hence the names Castor and Pollux from the Greek myth."
It's also nice when the owner gives a hint of direction: "I would like a portrait of the two with a Greek theme: perhaps two warriors, as Castor and Pollux were according to the myth."
Since I have zero knowledge of Greek mythology, I googled Castor & Pollux, and came up with two ideas.
The first was something sort of classical that tells a story about the myth but also about the actual cats:
The second idea I sent was a simpler, more traditional portrait layout based on the highly recognizable sculpture of Castor and Pollux:
The client preferred the latter option because it put the focus on the cats, which is understandable.
The next step is choosing the right reference image. I chose the two photos shown below because I liked that their heads were in different positions, as though they were comfortable with each other, maybe talking, maybe standing watch, two bodies with the same soul.
So I started sketching.
The client approved of the sketch, so I started adding in the shading/details:
This is my Black Ticked style, which has evolved over time. It used to be made up of fat lines and dots, like below:
It started this way so people could have the design easily printed on shirts and other merchandise, but the big dots were too limiting.
Over the years, I have found a few ways to draw hair. One is to simply go in and spend a lot of time drawing individual hairs. Below is a drawing I did a few years ago using this method:
Another technique I now use to draw hair in the newer Black Ticked drawings is smudging the dots to create more realistic fur. I start by using a brush that is made up of tiny dots:
Then I use the Smudge tool to draw out those tiny dots into small, blurry lines:
I still have some tweaking to do, but it's done enough for me to write this post.
Until next time and thanks for reading!